How to smartly invest 25M?

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Jūrmala City Council

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The brief

There is very wide offer of the tourism objects (cultural, nature, infrastructure, architectural) in Jūrmala and all these objects are in different technical condition. This is one of the main reasons why Jūrmala needs data about the popularity and attendance of these tourism objects. Such information would help to plan the city budget more effectively and allow for setting up priorities for the development of the infrastructure (priority territories, tourism objects, parkings etc.). Jūrmala city together with the partners organizes a lot of events in each season of the year in the city, and the city would like to plan and develop even more modern and tailor made proposal for local and foreign tourists. The Municipality invites students to develop a solution that could help to monitor the tourist flow in the city, as well as gather information about tourist interests, wishes and money spent.

The background

Jūrmala city is the second largest city in Latvia (in terms of territory – 100m2) and the only city in Latvia that has the status of “Wellness city” officially. The distance to the Riga city center is 15 km. During the pre-Soviet and Soviet times Jūrmala was a very popular wellness city visited by the tourists from all over the world. They were coming for treatment and rehabilitation purposes due to the nature resources available (sludge, hydrogen sulphide, bromine mineral water etc.). The charisma of the city is the white sand beach that is 24 km long and the pine tree woods with the possibility of modern relaxing. After restoration of Latvia’s independence the tourist flow strongly decreased from Russia and other former Soviet Republics. As a result, a lot of popular sanatoriums were closed and the large part of the city was left degraded (e.g. Ķemeri). Jūrmala municipality is planning to invest more than 25 M EUR in revitalization of these territories, as well as to develop other territories of the city until 2025. The planned projects include restoring parks, roads, tourism objects (for example, the watchtower of Ķemeri) and pedestrian and bicycle path. The investment needs to be monitored, thus the tourist flow counted, in order to elaborate future development plans and plan city budget accordingly.

The problem

Jūrmala is hosting many tourists on a daily basis, but the city does not have credible information or statistics on tourist flow. The available information does not answer the questions – which countries tourists are coming from, how long they stay in the city, how much money do they spend, what they are interested in, what exactly attracts them, what is the frequency of their return and what is their motivation of visiting the city? Due to lack of this information, the city and tourism companies struggle to provide tailor made tourism products and services for specific target group needs. The lack of this information also does not promote the attraction of foreign investment.

The solution

Jūrmala would like to develop a solution for effective, easy and fast way for counting, saving and presenting the information about the tourists visiting the city, including which countries they are coming from, what they are interested in, places they are visiting, their suggestions about the new tourism products and serves, how much money they are spending in Jūrmala, the frequency of their return etc.